Skillful predictions of decadal trends in global mean surface temperature
Article first published online: 17 NOV 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 38, Issue 22, November 2011
How to Cite
2011), Skillful predictions of decadal trends in global mean surface temperature, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L22801, doi:10.1029/2011GL049508., , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 17 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 17 NOV 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 OCT 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 13 OCT 2011
- Manuscript Received: 31 AUG 2011
- decadal prediction
 We compare observed decadal trends in global mean surface temperature with those predicted using a modelling system that encompasses observed initial condition information, externally forced response (due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosol precursors), and internally generated variability. We consider retrospective decadal forecasts for nine cases, initiated at five year intervals, with the first beginning in 1961 and the last in 2001. Forecast ensembles of size thirty are generated from differing but similar initial conditions. We concentrate on the trends that remain after removing the following natural signals in observations and hindcasts: dynamically induced atmospheric variability, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and the effects of explosive volcanic eruptions. We show that ensemble mean errors in the decadal trend hindcasts are smaller than in a parallel set of uninitialized free running climate simulations. The ENSO signal, which is skillfully predicted out to a year or so, has little impact on our decadal trend predictions, and our modelling system possesses skill, independent of ENSO, in predicting decadal trends in global mean surface temperature.